Sunday, June 26, 2016

100 Mavericks # 51 Takashi Mitzutani

Leader of Japanese band Les Rallizes Denudes, possibly the ultimate cult concern of all. Julian Cope writes about them, extensively and expressively in his book about leftfield rock from that land Japrocksampler.

'Note: Their career has been down in the dumps ever since bass player Mariyasu Wakabayashi helped hijack a JAL Boeing 737 back in 1970 (see Book Two, Chapter Five). Their last official release was a double live LP recorded back in 1977. And nobody even knows quite what the official name of their band is, or even what its most popular French form means because there are no such things as 'rallizes' in the French language. And yet the cult that surrounds Les Rallizes Denudés increases in size year after year. This is because, in a world where the sacrilegious reunions of former punks like the Velvet Underground and the Stooges have destroyed utterly the myth of their legendary non-conformity, devotees of Les Rallizes's Takeshi Mizutani and his black-clad cohorts can relax safe in the knowledge that their erstwhile heroes would rather commit collective hara kiri than sell out their gruelling 37-year-long self-imposed isolation up in the wildernesses of northern Japan by doing anything remotely as gauche as releasing a new record. Combine all of this attitude with leader Mizutani's intense devotion to re-recording the same small canon of material over and over again, and you have the blueprint for a rock'n'roll cult that transcends all others. When French movie maker Ethan Mousike trekked across the globe to make a documentary about the Rallizes (and at his own expense I hasten to add), Mizutani refused to allow him to film the band close-up, insisting instead that Mousike set up his tripod in the dressing room, thereby allowing the camera lens to focus on less than one-third of the stage. When, after twenty minutes of this suffocatingly boring footage had elapsed, Mizutani contemptuously jumped off stage and kicked the door shut. our heroic French director chose not to remonstrate with the churlish Mizutani, preferring instead to allow the film stock to conclude naturally, thereby allowing Les Rallizes Denudés's errant metaphor its full reign.'

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